Students in Salina got a personal look at the painkiller addiction epidemic Thursday.
The Mayes County Drug Reduction Outreach Project(DROP) hosted the assembly.
The students in Salina wanted to give a visual impact of just how bad this painkiller epidemic is, so they laid out 725 pairs of shoes to represent the 725 people who died in Oklahoma last year from painkiller overdoses.
Layla Freeman told the students about her daughter Ashley who became addicted when she was 16, gave birth to a baby with drugs in her system, got arrested, and went to rehab countless times, but, still, didn't survive her addiction.
"I prayed over my daughter as they turned those machines off and one tear rolled down her cheek," said Freeman.
Representatives from local police, DEA, ATF, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and leaders in the community are working together to bring a powerful message to kids about the dangers of prescription painkillers and how addiction can take over anyone.
"I was a normal kid. I was raised in a good family, they did all the right things. I was in church, I was active in sports, I went to camps, I had everything you'd want to have yet, this is where I found myself," said recovering addict Lance Lang.
Lance grew up in Pryor as a preacher's kid, but became an addict and got pulled into a cycle of depression and loneliness that consumed him for years, until he fought his way to becoming clean and sober.
"You're not too far gone, you're not broken. You're not messed up. You're worthy of a new start," said Land.
The idea of these assemblies is to let students know help is available for them and their families without judgment. The goal is to save lives.
The DROP Task Force will put on this assembly for Adair students in May.